Line of Duty 3, BBC2, Daniel Mays

Line of Duty - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Detective Constable Kate Fleming (VICKY McCLURE), Sgt Danny Waldron (DANIEL MAYS), Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (MARTIN COMPSTON) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Steffan Hill

Deadly force: DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McCure), Sgt Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays), DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)

Third instalment of the corruption cops saga is another taut and gripping affair

★★★★ BBC2, Thursday, 24 March, 9pm

DANIEL MAYS has always had a nice sideline in larky roles, from the C4 sitcom Plus One to the recent Dad’s Army movie. Even when he’s played a villain, such as Ronnie Biggs in Mrs Biggs, he was more of a rogue than a hard case.

So it seemed unlikey casting to make him Sergeant Danny Waldron, a proper bastard, in the latest incarnation of the cop corruption drama Line of Duty. However, the decision is totally justified – he uses his full acting skills and height of 6’2″ to put the fear of god into all those around him.

The story sees Waldron brought up on a killing charge before series regulars Supt Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), DS Arnott (Martin Compston) and DI Cottan (Craig Parkinson). Waldron heads an armed unit that corners a suspected gang hitman, who ends up dead in suspicious circumstances.

Daniel Mays is terrific as Waldron

When other members of the team are reluctant to go along with Waldron’s questionable version of events, he tells them with a sneer: “We’re all in this together.”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 20:30:01 on 07/03/2016 - Programme Name: Line of Duty - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: PC Rod Kennedy (WILL MELLOR), Sgt Danny Waldron (DANIEL MAYS), PC Hari Bains (ARSHER ALI), PC Jackie Brickford (LEANNE BEST) - (C) World productions - Photographer: Steffan Hill

Law unto themselves? PC Kennedy (Will Mellor), Sgt Waldron (Daniel Mays), PC Bains (Arsher Ali), PC Brickford (Leanne Best)

He faces down Supt Hastings and his inquisitors in a bravura, lengthy interrogation scene during which he spits out facts and regulations at the anti-corruption boys of AC-12. When he goes jogging he pushes himself to extremes and ends up vomiting.

And when squad member Hari (Arsher Ali) looks like he may break ranks, Waldron is genuinely scary when slapping him down. This guy is a walking volcano, and Mays is terrific in the role. [Read more…]

Prey, ITV, with John Simm, Craig Parkinson, Adrian Edmondson PREVIEW

Rating: ★★★½

ITV: begins during week of 26 April-2 May

Story: Detective Sergeant Marcus Farrow, a well-liked copper who is wrongly accused and arrested for an inhumane crime. When he escapes custody he becomes an outlaw trying to clear his name.

PREY comes from the pounding action end of the crime-drama spectrum. Its starts with a bang and hardly lets the pace drop thereafter.

John Simm is the go-to guy if you want grim-faced cop on the edge. Here, he’s over the edge – on the run, in fact, frantic after being accused of murdering his wife and youngest son.

He’s Detective Sergeant Marcus Farrow, a well-liked copper who crosses paths with a nasty scrote called Lomax while trying to work out who killed ‘Turkish godfather’ Omer Hassan. Lomax makes a veiled threat about Farrow’s family – ‘We all have families’ – and the next thing is Farrow’s estranged wife and son are brutally stabbed to death.

John Simm is The Fugitive

The detective in charge of the case, Chief Inspector Susan Reinhardt, quickly concludes Farrow must
be the killer, based on the fact he and his ex, Abi, had had a nasty row. From there the plot spins off spectacularly as our man becomes a fugitive and finds out just how he has been betrayed.

Subtle it is not. But any story of a desperate cop on the run, with no allies, must have the cat-and-mouse intrigue to hold the audience if it is done well. And Bafta-winning director Nick Murphy keeps the thrills spilling out at a great pace.

It is also shot in gritty Manchester locations, all rough pubs with hard-looking punters. It’s a refreshing shift of gear from the many psychological whodunits we see.

Craig Parkinson from Line of Duty

John Simm, as we know from hits such as Life on Mars and Mad Dogs, is very watchable as the man in a tight spot, though he is a bit too emotionally uptight for the devastating scenes following the murders

of his family, which don’t quite convince.

Craig Parkinson turns up straight from his stint as dodgy Dot Cottan in Line of Duty, playing Marcus’s detective colleague Sean Devlin.

The series has been written and created by TV newcomer Chris Lunt, who only became a professional writer in 2010 following a redundancy. He acknowledges Prey‘s debt to the classic US series The Fugitive, but has still come up with a punchy story about an ordinary guy in an extraordinary mess.

Cast: John Simm Marcus Farrow, Rosie Cavaliero Susan Reinhardt, Craig Parkinson Sean Devlin, Adrian Edmondson DCI Warner

Try these links:
John Simm Society blog
Script Angel interview with Chris Lunt

Follow @crimetimeprev

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